London Strawberry Festival

London, OH 43140

740-857-1417

History:

The London Marigold Festival first started in 1983, on the downtown streets in London where it flourished and grew rapidly during the following five years. Although it became popular with the community, there were a few who didn't appreciate the special time of fellowship it inspired among the town people and their guests. It was a wonderful atmosphere of fun and excitement. During that time, my family and I lived just a few blocks away on East First Street. We invited family and friends to come visit during the festival. After enjoying a barbecue and time together, we'd walk the couple of blocks to South Main Street and join the rest of our London neighbors for an evening of entertainment, rides, games, and of course more food. Festival food! Nothing like it in the world. Each year the festival grew, adding on more rides, games and food. Several local organizations got involved making it a grand ole time for everyone of all ages to enjoy. By it's fifth year, the London Marigold Festival had grown very large in size and attendance. It was a very successful and popular festival, destined for greatness. Then came devastating news. The festival was going to be relocated. It seemed that due to the efforts of one individual, several merchants were persuaded that the London Marigold Festival was not in their best interests. The argument was so compelling that a few merchants were able to convince certain city officials the festival needed to relocate. Under pressure by a few, the festival was moved. It proved to be a fatal blow to the longevity and continued success of the London Marigold Festival. When I heard what had happened, somehow I knew this would be the beginning of the end for our festival. I sat down and penned a letter to the editor of The Madison Press which if memory serves me right took up nearly a half page in the "Letters to the Editor" section. Year by year the festival attendance dwindled. The interest of the community turned away. What had been a great community affair now lay wounded and dying. As the years went by, many people volunteered their efforts and tried to keep the festival alive, but despite all their hard work, an end was certain. Eighteen years have passed and now we come to the year 2000. I'd read in The Madison Press the festival organizers were considering closing the London Marigold Festival for good. Sighting lack of community support, failing attendance, thinning vendors, it shrunk to nearly nothing. It was on it's last leg and ready to pass into oblivion. Then several new volunteers came on board with fresh ideas and enthusiasm. They brought with them a vision which could turn the festival completely around. The seasoned and burned out committee members were very skeptical and pessimistic at first. The members remained optimistic and persistent. They knew it could be revived.

The London Strawberry Festival is held annually the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after Father's Day in June. Located on ST RT 56, on the downtown, historic streets of London.  We have rides, games, food (every food vendor has to have something Strawberry!), free nightly entertainment, the largest Cobra Car Show benefiting Cystic Fibrosis, and of course Strawberry Shortcake.

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